Yamaha Starbike Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Been riding for 20 years, but have never really rode more than a gas tank away at a time. So what better way to change that then take a trip down to the Dragon this weekend? Going to leave from work in Herndon, VA Friday night, and come back Monday morning. It's roughly 525 miles each way. Should be a lot of fun. Will definitely be posting some pics from my trip!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
424 Posts
I have ridden the Dragon a couple of times, and frankly I don't think it is nearly as much fun as advertised. It is a demanding road, there is almost no scenery, there is a 35 mph speed limit said to be strictly enforced by the Tennessee police, and there is a solid double yellow center line for the entire distance. I understand they have finally banned large trucks, but bear in mind it is still a numbered US highway and there are RVs, boat trailers, and so forth on the road. You also have to be alert for fools coming the other way who get into a curve too hot and cross the center line coming at you. If you do make a mistake, there are almost no safe runoff areas. I suggest for your first run, obey the seemingly ridiculous speed limit and pay careful attention to the warning speeds on signposted curves. It is a hell of a lot easier to STAY out of trouble than to GET out of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
im glad i live the UK and our speed limits aint that strict.. 30mph is the limit for riding through towns and built up areas!

single lane 'highways' are 60mph and double lanes or more are 70mph .. although you can cruise at around 80mph on dual carraigeways and not get pulled over as long as you're doing it safely
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I have ridden the Dragon a couple of times, and frankly I don't think it is nearly as much fun as advertised. It is a demanding road, there is almost no scenery, there is a 35 mph speed limit said to be strictly enforced by the Tennessee police, and there is a solid double yellow center line for the entire distance. I understand they have finally banned large trucks, but bear in mind it is still a numbered US highway and there are RVs, boat trailers, and so forth on the road. You also have to be alert for fools coming the other way who get into a curve too hot and cross the center line coming at you. If you do make a mistake, there are almost no safe runoff areas. I suggest for your first run, obey the seemingly ridiculous speed limit and pay careful attention to the warning speeds on signposted curves. It is a hell of a lot easier to STAY out of trouble than to GET out of it.
Thank you for the advice on riding the dragon. I will keep in mind to be careful on it. For me its not so much about riding the dragon, but about taking a long road trip with a destination in mind. I'm waiting to hear back from a friend in Atlanta, to see if he wants to get together this weekend. If he does then its like a 50 to a 100 mile detour/different route to him.

Its kind of an internal WTF moment, of how I've managed to go 20 years riding without really going anywhere. I don't do group rides, it's not my thing and I don't trust people in general. Even though I'm not likely to be at fault for an accident, it would still mean me being without my ride again. 2 years 2 months and 20 days without a ride was too long to go without, all because someone wasn't looking and pulled out in front of me. Riding to me is just moments that I can be at peace, alone in my own world. I don't need to ride with others to find that peace, but I do need to see more of the world while on Ghost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Good luck and enjoy the ride. I understand that on weekends where the weather is nice that the "Dragon" can be very congested with bikes. The ride down will be a good one I'm sure and if you meet up with your buddy you may even make a destination change where you can enjoy the ride with a lot less congestion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I've heard that, but it will still be a fun ride down there. Wife is actually getting jealous enough about it that she is considering coming along. If she does, cool, if not no biggie. Her coming like triples the cost as she would want to stay in the nicer hotels, make more stops, etc etc. Either way it will be a fun ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
424 Posts
Motorcycle riders are not the only ones who have heard about the Dragon. You can expect Corvettes, Porsches, Spyders and Slingshots, and pretty much anything else at any time, and sometimes in groups. Last couple of times I was there, there were a couple of commercial photographers set up in curves. They take your picture, put it on the Web, and try to sell it to you.

I have not personally observed the phenomenon, but I am led to understand that a goodly number of cruiser riders discover their limited cornering lean angles on that road.

While you are in the area, you might look into some part (or all) of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It has a lot more scenic overlooks, but be advised the curves were laid out for scenery and not for spirited riding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Charon, this past weeks episode of Ride With Norman Reedus included a segment on them riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, it was very enjoyable and so far it's been my favorite of this series. Two to three years ago the wife and I did a car trip that included driving the entire Natchez Trace Parkway. With the exception of the speed limit (50mph) I think it would be a nice ride on a bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for the advice of the other places in the area to visit. I could care less about banking around curves fast. I ride a Roadliner, not a crotch rocket. It's going to be a fun trip with some great scenery either way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So I never made it to the Dragon. I was going to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way down from Buena Vista. Unfortunately on Blue Ridge Parkway South between mile marker 76 & 75, there is a right curve with part of the road missing.
I was going low speed, like 25-30 mph, and went off the road. I was able to slow down to like 5 mph or so and planted my left foot down to pull my bike towards me. The incline was steep and I kept myself and my bike from rolling down the mountain.

Fortunately Ghost is fine, very minor cosmetic damage. From what I could see it looks like just the left passing light got broken, won't know for sure till I can call Geico to go pick my bike up from where it was towed to. Thankfully a couple of other bikers stopped to check on me, pick my bike up, and call the ambulance for me.

I broke my left ankle and left leg, both my tibia and fibula are broken in multiple places. They had to do surgery to put in a steel rod the entire length of my tibia just below the knee. There is one screw on top, 2 screws on bottom, and a steel plate on the bottom to line everything up. This makes surgery number 17 in my lifetime.

Oh and no this will not deter me from riding again once I am healed up. I must have took the corner too tight, but the road should have been there. Live and learn right. I gladly broke my leg to not lose my bike in this situation. Here are some pics of both the beautiful ride, and my leg before and after surgery.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
Damn man. That's really f cked up. You have even worse luck than me. Knock on wood. Guess ya musta dropped bike on yer leg then? Were there no signs or cones or anything marking the road, warning about road conditions? Had a very similar situation happen to myself, and my old lady was with me too. Ended up in a ditch, with bike pinning me to the bank. Tossed the ole woman off and into woods. Was only going bout same speed as you, sharp right, banking turn to the right, uphill, and lots of gravel laying on the road. But outcome was a lot different. Comical almost in that after some good people helped me get it back onto the road, I dropped it again tryin to start out on the hill in 2nd gear, right there in the middle of the road. After they helped me get it back up, we managed to get going ok. Musta been the adrenaline cause I was shaking so bad. We stopped up the road to check out the bike, and shake off the shakes. Only damage was broken turn signal, which I fixed, and my pride. Hope ya heal quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Bike didn't land on me, I jammed my foot into the ground to completely stop and pulled as hard as I could to keep the bike from tumbling down the hill. I kept the handlebars turned so they didn't hit.

My back ribs are a little sore from the force of all the weight I was pulling into me. Which is most likely what caused the breaks in my leg. My bags were all loaded up because I was taking a 3 day trip, so my bike probably weighed about 800 with everything on there.

It's a bit of my pride hurt, but am still proud of myself for saving my bike from tumbling to its doom. It's probably ridable, but I won't be able to put pressure on my left leg for a few months, let alone ride anytime soon. Now the fun part of getting bike towed from Bedford, VA to Rockville, MD to the Honda/Yamaha dealership to get it fixed. Hopefully Geico will tow without issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
Bike didn't land on me, I jammed my foot into the ground to completely stop and pulled as hard as I could to keep the bike from tumbling down the hill. I kept the handlebars turned so they didn't hit.

My back ribs are a little sore from the force of all the weight I was pulling into me. Which is most likely what caused the breaks in my leg. My bags were all loaded up because I was taking a 3 day trip, so my bike probably weighed about 800 with everything on there.

It's a bit of my pride hurt, but am still proud of myself for saving my bike from tumbling to its doom. It's probably ridable, but I won't be able to put pressure on my left leg for a few months, let alone ride anytime soon. Now the fun part of getting bike towed from Bedford, VA to Rockville, MD to the Honda/Yamaha dealership to get it fixed. Hopefully Geico will tow without issue.
geico covers hookup fee and the first 35 miles after that most tow companies charge 5.00 for each extra mile, problem is most companies won't tow past 100 miles because after that the return trip is to big of an expense
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I talked to Geico, they are making exception because I am so far from home, don't have anyone else to bring it home, and have severe enough of an injury. I won't be able to put pressure on left leg for 2 months minimum. So riding is out of the question for now. Geico listed it as a not at fault accident due to pothole since part of the road on the corner was missing.

I'm hoping to be riding by Christmas though. Many factors coming into play as we may end up moving back down to FL or to TX for my work. I'm good with either since it will mean more time riding year round.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Geico made it a bit of a pain getting Ghost towed. Took so long to get the exception approved it is now first being picked up tomorrow morning. A bit of a pain, but it beats paying an extra $500 something unnecessarily.

Got copies of my X-rays. Turns out there were 6 screws total. Could have been a lot worse, but some of the pics are a bit cringeworthy I must say. I know it's odd, but I kind of like having more metal in me. It will heal and I'll ride again. Yes the break was pretty bad, but the accident itself was not. At least I didn't lose Ghost, she will heal as well.

Feels good to be out of the hospital and home again. The ride home was interesting, sitting in the back seat with leg over front seat.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Ouch! Glad to see you were able to walk away from it so to speak.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
It could have been a lot worse. I stopped ghost from going down the side of the mountain, but I most likely would have gone down too if she would have. If that means some metal in my leg so be it. I know the break was bad but it almost feels like barely an accident, like if I would have dropped her at a gas pump or something. I really am incredibly lucky at being unlucky but lucky enough to walk away.

Well walk, roll, crawl, hop...whatever. Figuring out how to pimp out my walker & crutches I'll have to use for a few months. Would a chromed out walker with mini spinners on the wheels be too much?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Outside of my leg is looking as bad as the inside now. It's getting a bit annoying when people keep saying that they bet I won't ride anymore. Non bikers will never get it. I will always ride. Anything in life can be dangerous, doesn't mean you should shy away from something dangerous just because of an injury.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
It was so relieving when the Yamaha tech started Ghost up, and to hear her purr with no issue. He also rode it around the Parking lot for a min and said the handlebars, forks, and shifter all seemed good. The rubber molding on the riders probably have to be replaced, and the left ISO grip is broken. But very minor damage. If Geico approves a new paint job because of scratches, I'm thinking of trying to get them to paint it the same Metalic Electric Blue as my 2013 Ford C-Max. And then getting a white helmet to get color matched to it.

Heading to the MVA now for my temporary Disabled plate for Ghost and placard for my car. Even once I can start bearing weight on my left leg in like 3 months or so, I'm still looking at a good 6-12 months on a cane. I won't have to go that long without riding because of the heal toe shifter. I'm sure that I will get some damn funny looks riding Ghost, parking her in Handicap, then pulling out a cane from my saddlebags. The Roadliner is a big bike, I'm 6'5", 250, white 34, year old guy. I'm sure I'll get some comments, but screw them. I actually have a need for the temp disability. I'm already back at work as of yesterday. But then again I'm a Sr Systems Engineer, so work from home is not an issue. I was already working from home 3 days a week.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top